It is no secret that the film rights issues of Spider-Man have been a topic of discussion among fans over recent years. The character, who is legally owned by Sony, had its fair share of ups and downs in the movie realm.
The saga started during Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy, with those films essentially elevating the web-slinger to greater heights. However, the third entry in the Tobey Maguire-led franchise came to an underwhelming end, ultimately leading to a reboot that is now known as The Amazing Spider-Man universe.
Directed by Marc Webb, the two Amazing Spider-Man films showcased a unique take for Peter Parker's heroic adventures, but it still didn't live up to expectations. As a result, Sony and Disney forged a deal for Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This deal resulted in the casting of Tom Holland as the titular hero, and finally, the character ended up butting heads with the rest of the Avengers. The future remains unclear for the MCU's friendly neighborhood hero due to the rights fiasco, but it looks like Spider-Man is here to stay due to a new agreement.
DISNEY SETS NEW SPIDER-MAN DEAL WITH SONY
Variety has shared in a report that Disney has set a “massive movie licensing pact” with Sony Pictures for the US that “promises to bring Spider-Man and other Marvel properties” to Disney+ starting with Sony's 2022 theatrical release slate.
The outlet revealed that the deal also “calls for Sony titles to run across Disney’s array of streaming and linear platforms.”
The deal comes on the heels of Sony's recent deal with Netflix that will allow the streamer to have rights to Sony Pictures titles after theatrical and home releases. After the Netflix run, Sony's film will then come exclusively to Disney's platform, and it was reported to only cover the U.S. despite its global reach.
In an official statement, Chuck Saftler, the head of business operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks and Acquisitions for Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution, pointed out that this landmark multi-year deal is a “win for fans:”
“This landmark multi-year, platform-agnostic agreement guarantees the team at Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution a tremendous amount of flexibility and breadth of programming possibilities to leverage Sony’s rich slate of award-winning action and family films across our direct-to-consumer services and linear channels. This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.”
Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said that this agreement “cements a key piece of [their] film distribution strategy:”
“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them. We are thrilled to team up with Disney on delivering our titles to their viewers and subscribers. This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”
The official press release, as posted by Fandango's Erik Davis, mentioned that the “agreement provides Disney with a robust collection of Sony Pictures' Universe of Marvel Characters Films in Post-Pay 1 TV Windows.” (Pay 1 TV Windows typically refer to release periods of movies on subscription services and premium cable networks).
A SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS FOR SONY AND DISNEY
This new deal should serve as solid proof of the good working relationship between Sony and Disney, especially after a rocky 2019 that almost booted Spider-Man out of the MCU.
If anything, the clear winners here are the fans since it gives a glimmer of hope that the web-slinger will be in the MCU for a long haul.
The Marvel lineup on Disney+ is already stacked, but it seems that the list of projects will be much longer after the arrival of Sony's Marvel content. By the end of 2022, the MCU's slate of films on the streaming platform will be almost complete, with Universal's Incredible Hulk serving as the only property to be left out of the mix.
Still, it is reasonable to assume that the rights for Hulk will be the next target for Disney. Not much is known if a deal will be made, but the shocking turn of events with regard to Spider-Man could serve as the driving force for the House of Mouse to reclaim their Green Goliath down the line.
It looks like Disney's endgame is geared towards providing a complete Marvel experience for fans through their streaming platform, and so far, the plan is working to their advantage.